When Your Best Friend’s Time Is Short

Tissue warning!

Tracker in her glory days.

Tracker in her glory days.

It took me a while to write this because you can only do so much typing when you have a dog’s head in your lap. A head, attached to a body, attached to a soul, who has been fully “attached” to me for the last 14 years. Even though it took four times as long to write as it normally would, it was totally worth it. She gave me 14 years. I can give her a few hours of blissful petting.

Tracker - almost 15
Her legs started giving out today. For the last 2 months her body has slowly started failing. She has kidney disease and sometimes her GI tract doesn’t always cooperate. Some nights we get up every 2 hours because that is what her body demands. And then there are the days when she won’t eat, mixed with the days when she impatiently demands whatever food is visible.

Haiku in he

Haiku in he

Haiku - almost 14
His mind is going. He bounces and paces around mostly unaware of where he is. Yesterday he ran headlong into a closed door, just to run down the hall, turn around, and run headlong into it again. He stares off into space when he’s outside. He stopped eating 8 days ago. He started eating again 3 days ago. I’m not even sure he recognizes me half the time.

I got pizza tonight. For them. Because what do you do when you know your best friends’ time is short… you give back. You give them every moment of your time that they ask for, and you do it with gusto. They offered me 6 million minutes of presence, their companionship, whether I accepted it or not. And as a busy human, I squandered it. But in return I can try and give them every minute of time I can while they’re still here.

Instead of pining I can be present. I can give them the best things they ever enjoyed. I can give them the same attention, distraction free, that they give me. I can apply the lessons they taught me and make them part of me, so that when they are gone, I must do my best to honor the changes they made in me, and in so, honor them. Honor the better human they made me.

It’s not easy. It takes effort to stay in this frame of mind. They pace sometimes, in the middle of the night. On and off for hours because they need to go to the bathroom… again… for the 6th time. But I remind myself, what is grating will instead eventually be silent and I’ll miss those footfalls.

I’ll be heartbroken when they pass. I’ll miss them terribly when they are gone. But I won’t exchange the time I have left to live the pain of losing them twice. I choose to celebrate them. Love them. Hold them. Caress them. And feed them pizza.

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, which is why we call it the present.
— -Many people

Love them now for they’re never here long enough.